What Affects Your Energy Bill?
Updated: May 5
It’s no secret that your energy bill varies month to month and season to season. But do you really know why? There are many factors that go hand-in-hand in affecting your energy usage which in turn reflects on your energy bill. We’ve got the breakdown for you.
Weather – The Obvious Culprit
Every region is different, but most go through similar types of weather with varying severities. Did you know you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling just by setting your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day from its normal setting? According to energy.gov, you can!
During the winter you can also follow these tips to help minimize your energy use:
Use portable space heaters wisely. If you spend most of your time in one or two rooms, using space heaters to keep those rooms warmer, and turning your furnace down to let the rest of the house stay cooler, can help save energy. This works best if you can close off the rooms you are using, and if you only use one or two space heaters. A typical space heater uses 1,500 watts of electricity and an electric furnace uses 10 times that much.
Get rid of drafts. If you feel cold air coming in, warm air is escaping. Keep windows and doors closed and use caulk or weather stripping to seal leaks.
Cover your windows. Tight fitting, insulated window coverings can help minimize heat loss through the windows. Keep curtains and blinds closed unless the sun is shining directly on the glass.
Check your filters to see if they need to be replaced. Dirty or clogged filters make your furnace work harder, increasing energy usage.
Appliances & Electronics – Energy Vampires
They’re everywhere! But do they all need to be plugged in 24/7? Many devices continue to use energy even when they’re not in use. A simple fix is plugging these devices into a power strip with a convenient on/off switch, to ensure they aren’t consuming extra energy.
Another way to help is to purchase Energy Star® appliances. The Energy Star designation is only given to appliances that meet the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection's (EPA) energy efficiency standards. Purchasing these appliances not only helps limit global energy consumption but can drastically lower the amount of energy you use in your home.
Occupants – The More the Merrier, Right?
When there are more people in your home, it typically means there are more activities going on and energy being used. You’ll tend to see your energy usage increase around the holidays and when the kids are out of school for the summer. There’s not much you can do about the number of people, but it helps to be aware and use other tips and tricks to manage the usage more during those time periods.
Lighting – Go LED and Use Dimmer Switches
LED light bulbs are highly energy efficient lighting and could have a good effect on your energy bill. According to energy.gov, LED bulbs typically use at least 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. LED lightbulbs emit the same number of lumens (rays of light) but use significantly fewer watts (energy) than their incandescent predecessors. All of which, could save energy and money.